Press Release - 9-8-2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 8, 2021
DMV REMINDS NEW YORKERS TO BEWARE OF FLOOD DAMAGE BEFORE BUYING USED VEHICLES
In the wake of Hurricane Ida, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) warned consumers to take precautions against unintentionally purchasing vehicles damaged by flooding in the weeks and months ahead.
The DMV’s website includes a link to the National Insurance Crime Bureau database. People looking to buy a used car can enter the Vehicle Identification Number and learn if the vehicle was ever flooded or stolen.
“A car is one of the biggest purchases consumers make, so DMV wants to make sure that you are getting what you paid for,” said DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder. “A car that has been through a flood can look fine from the outside but have substantial damage so we want to protect consumers by making it easy for them to check if a vehicle has been damaged by flooding.”
Water from flooding can damage the engine or transmission, corrode wiring, or harm the airbag or the vehicle’s computers.
Some sellers will try to hide the damage by taking the vehicle from a flooded area and getting a new title in a different state before trying to sell it. Consumers should be aware when purchasing used vehicles with titles issued in mid-September this year or during other hurricane periods that they could be flood vehicles even if the title is not from the affected state.
DMV checks the history of every vehicle in New York State and will alert consumers if they have purchased a vehicle with a history of flood damage.
The DMV website includes information on the National Insurance Crime Bureau's VINCheck, a free service to help consumers determine if a vehicle has been reported as salvaged or stolen. When planning to purchase a used vehicle, consumers can search up to five VINs per day. The NICB also offers a free brochure with tips on how to avoid post-disaster fraud, which is available here.
DMV's website also offers tips on buying vehicles, including the protections available when purchasing a used vehicle through a private sale or from an auto dealer.
A person or dealer who sells a rebuilt salvage vehicle must provide the new owner a disclosure statement regardless of the vehicle's age. The disclosure statement is located on the back of New York State title certificates.
A seller who fails to disclose the salvage history of a vehicle can pay a maximum fine of $2,000 and any additional penalties described in the New York State Penal Law.
If a salvage vehicle is rebuilt for use on roadways, the DMV must examine it before issuing a new title certificate or registration. The required examination is part of the NY State Auto Theft Prevention Program. The program includes vehicles that were issued a NY State Salvage Certificate and rebuilt salvage vehicles from most other states.
A NY State Title Certificate issued after the date of May 18, 1999 for a rebuilt salvage vehicle displays the brand, 'REBUILT SALVAGE'. Some title certificates issued before May 19, 1999 also show this brand.
More information about the Salvage Vehicle Examination Program can be found on DMV’s website.